Opinion: In a world of trolls, bile and bullies, retailers must act on mental health

George MacDonald

There might seem little connection between the sad death of a TV presenter and retail, but industry leaders know otherwise – the link is mental health.

When Love Island host Caroline Flack took her own life last week it prompted countless calls for reflection. While the exact reasons and circumstances are unknown, it is clear she suffered in a world of trolling, bullying and online shaming, which many people who are not celebrities identify with.

It’s an issue that, just a few years ago, would not have featured on the retail agenda, dictated as it was by weekly trading performance and a command-and-control approach that was deemed essential to manage extensive store estates and vast numbers of employees.

But the world has changed and mental health is now, rightly, a prominent item on retailers’ agendas – both because employers take their responsibilities to staff seriously and because to do otherwise is likely to undermine commercial performance.

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